This program is currently closed.
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) announces the availability of funds to improve availability of specialty crops and strengthen marketing efforts of local producers and retailers. Projects funded through this program should support specialty crop producers through professional marketing services and market development activities to increase sales, points of access, and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and other Vermont grown specialty crops.
Specialty crops are defined in the Farm Bill as: fruits and tree nuts; vegetables; culinary herbs, spices, and medicinal plants; nursery, floriculture, horticulture, and Christmas trees; honey; hops; maple syrup; and mushrooms.
Award Range and Additional Assistance
Grants will be awarded for projects up to $5,000. Projects must primarily benefit specialty crop producers. In addition to grant funds, projects will receive program support from technical assistance providers and/or marketing specialists for improved project implementation valued at up to $2,000.
Projects must demonstrate how investments will impact revenue through improved marketing efforts and increased access to specialty crops. Only proposals that expand direct-to-consumer or retail markets for Vermont specialty crop producers in Vermont will be considered. Applicants should describe how a project will benefit a specialty crop industry, sector, or the public rather than a single business or organization.
Expenditures will be limited to allowable costs under the SCBGP as noted in Appendix A: Allowable Costs & Activities, of the Local Food in Your Community Grants 2021 Request for Applications (RFA).
- Specialty crop producer cooperatives, producer groups, food hubs, or farmers markets
- Independent retailers, non-profits, or other food businesses that will partner with and/or provide support to specialty crop producers, producer groups, food hubs, or farmers markets
Examples of Eligible Projects
- Marketing or related education and outreach programs
- Innovative solutions to logistics and/or distribution
- Accounting or inventory tracking software or other technology
- Website improvements, sales platforms, or app development
- Display improvements such as signage, shelving, labels to promote allowable products
Examples of Ineligible Projects
- Vehicle purchases or land purchases
- Direct purchases of food
- Funding for purchases made prior to award notification
- Community garden projects
- Sponsorship of established festivals and entertainment series
Projects solely benefiting specialty crop producers do not need to demonstrate matching funds, but may do so to better explain commitment from partners and full project scope. Eligible match sources include applicant’s own capital, outside investment capital, and/or grants from private or public sources. Match support can also come in the form of in-kind time and services related to the project and must be quantified at fair market value.
Application Process & Resources
The 2021 application period opened April 6, 2021 and completed application forms must be saved along with all other required information by noon (12:00PM) on May 6th, 2021. When an application has successfully been submitted, the applicant will be redirected to an “Application Submitted Confirmation” page with an Application ID number and receive a confirmation email.
All applicants must register to create an account using VAAFM’s online grants management system, WebGrants and have a Login.Gov (SAM) account. Applicants that do not have a WebGrants account will need to request one by filling out and submitting the WebGrants Registration Form. Registration requests are processed in 1-2 business days. Applicants that fail to meet the submission deadline because they did not submit their registration request in time will not be considered for funding.
How to Apply
- Download and review the Local Food in Your Community Grants 2021 Request for Applications (RFA).
- Refer to the WebGrants Application Guide for guidance on how to navigate.
- Watch this video for details about the program.
- Need help? Submit your questions about the Local Food in Your Community grants here.
- Prepare your application and save any required documents as PDFs.
- Upload all required documents, mark as complete and submit your application in WebGrants before noon on May 6, 2021.